How to de-clutter your life: Step 3

If you’ve completed

Step 1: Admit you have a problem and

Step 2: Purge

then you’re probably feeling pretty damned pleased with yourself right now – and rightly so! I can just picture you – basking in that glow of clutterless clarity, clucking derisively at friends still trapped in clutter rebutting, nodding sagely as you flip through the pristine pages of home porn (decorating mags).

But beware! Don’t allow your hard work to go to waste by letting disorder stage a coup d’etat when you’re looking the other way. If you return to old habits it’s only a matter of time before you’re back where you started – and tripping over crap to answer a call from Oprah about appearing in her upcoming Horror Hoarders episode.

So how do you maintain the gain? Well, I’m going to let you in on a secret. There’s a way to keep disarray at bay without hypnosis, or therapy to heal your inner hoarder, or trekking to a meditation master for the secret to simplicity. It’s just one little trick that will make dishevelment a distant memory.

Step 3: The secret to staying clutter-free: OCI-OGO


One comes in, one goes out.

That’s the answer. You can never be overtaken by clutter again if you simply stick to this one little rule in your life. It will become a habit fast – and it will let you bypass a lot of soul searching and angst. Just adopt this change and you’ll forever be free of life rubble. For example…

Bought a new handbag or briefcase? Give away an old one.

Got the latest New Scientist magazine? Put Ralph (the articles, I know) in the recycle bin.

Picked up a nifty nik-nak you don’t need? Forget OGO, you need to cut this one off at the OCI stage and return it, drop it off at a charity store or put it in the trash before you even get home. (Put those wasted dollars down to ‘the cost of sanity’.)

Here are some tips for making OCI-OGO a part of your home-life. Most of these are about creating boundaries so that OCI-OGO gets structured into your environment.

Your wardrobe
After you’ve completed Step 2: Purge, discard any leftover hangers. Now, whenever you buy a new outfit, you have to free up a hanger by letting go of something else. It doesn’t have to be ugly or old, it simply has to be something you like less than the other clothes you have.

Your kitchen
Unless you regularly entertain Nobel laureates and international dignitaries on whom world peace may depend, consider having only ‘everyday’ crockery, cutlery and glassware. Choose designs that are attractive, dishwasher- and microwave-safe and available in separates to replace breakages. Have enough to meet general use and get rid of everything else. Use these items until they start to look worse for wear and then replace the lot. This approach spares you time, energy and storage space.

Your reading/music library
Once you have your shelves in their post-purge perfection, keep them that way. As you set off to buy the latest Tori Amos or Ian McEwan, take something from the shelf with you – and don’t bring it home again.

You get the idea – now use it! I promise you it will change your life. From lipstick to lounge chairs, OCI-OGO works at every level to simplify your home – and your life.

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By Michele Connolly

Choose to be happier – and you will be.


  1. Pingback: hoarder disorder
  2. You know it actually works,but I do find getting rid of 1 item of clothing hard,when I buy a new 1.But hay,I’m a work in progress.
    thanks for thse tips,can u come & declutter my house 🙂

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